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Orphan Number: 2400
Orphan: Robert HARRIS
Mother:HARRIS, Elizabeth
Mother's ship:America
Father's ship:
Age when admitted:3yrs
Date admitted:13 Sep 1832
Date discharged:14 Jul 1841
Institution(s):Queens Orphan School
Discharged to: mother
References: SWD24p397, 28, CSO5/86/1885

This orphan has been claimed by: Julie Vaszocz (nee Harris)

Untitled 1 Robert Harris is Orphan No. 2400.

He was born in London on 29.11.1829 to Elizabeth Harris, born in 1804. She claimed to be married to William Harris of London and have 2 children but neither a marriage certificate, Robert's baptism certificate nor evidence of another child has been found. In Oct. 1830, Elizabeth was sentenced to death at the Old Bailey in London for stealing 40 yards of silk. The sentence was commuted to transportation for life to Van Diemen's Land. Elizabeth and Robert were on a hulk in the Thames for 3 months until they sailed on The America on 6.1.1831 and arrived in Hobart on 9.5.1831 after 4 months at sea.

On arrival in Hobart, Robert was now 1 year 5 months old. Elizabeth and Robert were taken to the Cascade's Female Factory. Elizabeth was assigned to Miss Fisher (date unknown), thought to be the unmarried daughter of Mr Edward Fisher of Sandy Bay. Robert was sent to the Queen's Orphan School on 13.9.1832 aged 2 years 10 months. Elizabeth married convict John Day on 24.5.1837 at Holy Trinity Church Hobart. They moved to Launceston where John worked with Henry Dowling, printer and publisher. Elizabeth obtained a conditional pardon on 27.5.1840.

Robert was discharged from the Orphan School on 14.7.1841 aged 11 years 8 months and went to live with Elizabeth and John in Launceston. On 1.10.1845, 16 year old Robert was employed by and apprenticed to Henry Dowling. Robert went on to found The Wellington Times newspaper in Burnie on 1.10.1890. The first edition was printed 45 years to the day after Robert signed his apprenticeship papers in Launceston with Henry Dowling. It was later named The Advocate and remained in the Harris family until Dec 2003 when it was bought by Rural Press.

How amazing that Orphan No. 2400 at the Queen's Orphan School founded one of the most nationally awarded regional daily newspapers in Australia, which remained in the Harris family for 113 years.

Robert harris

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 Site last updated June 2021